The biggest challenge faced by those coming to work with data

Yukio
3 min readJul 13, 2022
Image source: https://www.digitalconnectmag.com/data-analyst-career-paths-how-to-land-a-lucrative-career-in-data-analytics/

I’m a mathematician with a master degree in economics. Imagine the following situation, I decide out of nowhere to become a neurosurgeon. In this fake scenario, this type of doctor don’t need a degree to work — let’s believe this is real just for the sake of the story. I spent months studying everything about x-rays, MRIs and so on. When I apply for a job at a hospital, the director tells me that I still need to study how certain drugs work and also how a human body works. I believe this is nonsense, after all, I’ve studied for months to get into the area, I know about X-Rays and many other exams, it must be enough. You're probably thinking right now that it’s bizarre for me to think like that, right? Well, that’s exactly how those who want to work with data like to think about the carrer.

People who wants to work with data come from completely different areas, having degrees that do not contemplate almost anything that is expected for the profession. People who didn’t study Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistics, sometimes not even Programming Logic. This is something that even a statistician or a physics intern already knows, but for people in another field it’s something totally new. This is the equivalent of the human body and the drugs I would have to learn if I wanted to be a doctor. And then people start to get that feeling: “I already know Python and SQL, what do you mean I still need to know all that math? What do you mean I still need to understand all that software stuff? This is so unfair, the job market is asking too much!”

When those who wanted to work with data start to realize that knowing some SQL or some Python is not enough, there is that rage and all the complaints that the job market is too demanding. The person doesn’t realize that he is making a huge transition and now he has to start his studies almost from zero and that it will take time for him/her to get the minimum required for the profession. They were told — mainly by people selling courses — that they would find a job in 6 months and making a lot of money, so now they want to see these promises become a reality. When that doesn’t happen, it’s time to blame the market’s demands, it’s never about the false promises they were told, neither their background (which is not even close from the minimum required for a data professional).

You see, people outside of statistics and other traditional fields for data are very welcome to work in Data Science or Data Analysis. We want you all working with data! Imagine how great would be to have a neuroscientist in your data squad, a guy who understands the human mind. Imagine having an advertising/communication pro, a great storytelling person, setting up your dashboards and studies. They are amazing people to have on the team. Everyone is very welcome, but you should understand that you are moving to a completely new field, with many things to learn. Your transition won’t happen in 3–6 months, like some people might have told you.

It will be worth it, it’s an incredible field, I really really love working with data! However, even though you might have learnt something about X-Rays and MRIs, you must still learn about the "human body" of the data universe.

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Yukio

Mathematician with a master degree in Economics. Working as a Data Scientist for the last 10 years.